Maybe it's a product of living in a major metropolitan city, or maybe it's something that's part of a growing trend. I'm talking, of course, about how ridiculous thrift store prices have become.
The tag above was for a vintage 1960's double-faced wool dress. Almost certainly adorable in its day, it was now moth-eaten and peppered with irreversible yellowing along the hem. I found it in a little hole-in-the-wall store tucked in the back of a decrepit strip mall, the kind of dusty place where you're more likely to discover avocado green Tupperware, macrame plant holders, Burl Ives records and men's butterfly collar polyester shirts than designer items - far from the high-end, curated shop that can justify overpriced vintage.
I was absolutely baffled by this price tag. Really? Forty-five dollars for a stained dress? For that price, I could go to a reputable Etsy dealer or local vintage shop and invest in a gorgeous piece in nearly perfect condition. Why on earth would I pay nearly fifty dollars for a stained dress?
Whether it's a charity shop or larger-scale thrift store, prices are definitely on the rise. Blame the faltering economy or trendiness of thrifting (personally, I fault Macklemore,) thrifting has never been so popular. Resale shops are thriving, popping up across the country. In 2011, the number of resale shops has increased by 7%. According to Britt Beemer, founder and chairman of America's Research Group, much of the recent growth can be attributed to young shoppers, many of whom are passing on trips to the mall in favor of thrift stores. About 20% of people shop in thrift stores regularly, compared with about 14% in 2008. Jim Gibbons, CEO and president of Goodwill states that Goodwill Industries has expanded into 2,700 stores in 15 countries since its inception in 1902. The total donated goods revenue for the Goodwill network is more than $3 billion.
At my local Goodwill, I've seen H&M dresses for $19 - more expensive than their counterparts on the sales rack in an H&M store. The bottom line is that all thrift stores, including Goodwill, get their merchandise for free. While some stores use proceeds from sales towards supporting charities, there are others that don't. It's also worth noting that at $719,147, Goodwill chief Michael Miller is the highest-paid nonprofit CEO in Oregon, and one of the wealthiest CEO's in the country. The Goodwill store of Columbia-Willamette booked $106.4 million in 2010 revenue.
So much for non-profit.
So much for non-profit.
So now I ask you: Have you noticed the same thing in your area? Are some thrift stores too expensive? What's the most you're willing to spend on an item in a thrift store?